Social/Emotional Program Mindfulness, by Kelly McRee
It has been my greatest pleasure this year to offer mindfulness to our ADS students. I have seen such a change in our pilot classes (Lucky Lemurs, Bamboo Pandas, Super Dolphins, Tolerant Toucans, Hip Hop Chipmunks, Starry Fireflies) over the last few weeks. I am so proud of their growing skills and willingness to open up their heart to new learning.
We have talked about “mindful bodies” which are tall and still as the tree in forest and quiet as the smallest mouse on the forest floor so still and quiet. We talk about how it is important that we are not always in our mindful bodies as we need to run, jump, and play. We have progressed to almost everyone reaching 2 minutes of being in our mindful bodies and practicing our deep breathing. We start every class with mindful breathing, have the lesson for the day, finish the lesson with three mindful breaths using our mindful mantra of breathing in, breathing out, wave a rainbow goodbye/end with hand on my heart (so I can keep them there until our next class) and we sign thank you to one another.
Our lessons have included obviously practicing how to be still and quiet, practicing our breath, practicing heartfulness so sending kindness out into the world by a mantra of May you be strong and healthy, May you be happy, May you be calm and peaceful. We have talked about how the practice of mindfulness is training our breath to be an anchor for our mind so when our mind starts to wander that our breath brings us back to the present moment. Our students have been practicing finding an anchor spot that helps them to focus on their breath. Some like to use the belly so they can feel it rise and fall with each breath, place a hand over their heart, or place a hand on their nose to feel the breath hit their hand.
To me, the month of November brings about a yearly gratitude practice of what and whom I am grateful for in my life. I want our budding mindful ninjas to practice sending out gratitude and kindness in their classroom community. I will be bring in a grateful bowl so that they can share all the ways they are practicing kind acts and gratitude. Please remind them to practice their mindful “homework” each week because it just allows them to learn to focus on the present moment and calm their mind.